Friday, March 22, 2013

Breastfeeding: Low Supply Update




As mentioned on this post, I had a scare two months into breastfeeding. I know breastfeeding is not the end of the world but once you've set your mind on something and have set goals and then you realize you're about to fail or have failed well lets just say that it is not the greatest of feelings.

I spoke with two lactation consultants. One LC had advice me to try and relax. Not to stress too much because that will for sure affect my supply. She gave me words of encouragement, told me about her experience with breastfeeding her four kids, and to listen to my body. She recommended that I pump before feeding AJ. At first I was a bit hesitant about it. I thought, if I pump first for ten minutes how will AJ have a full feeding? Well as I already knew, a baby's suction is stronger than any pump. So by pumping first two things will happen. One, I will get the max amount of milk to freeze and two AJ will completely empty out my breast indicating them that we need more production which will then increase my overall supply. Make sense? She also told me to breastfeed in the most comfortable position. The side lying position. That way I'm comfortable, the baby is comfortable, and my body is fully relaxed. While feeding she recommended I listen to soft music, watch television, or even read a book. I used the side lying position a lot even before noticing the decrease in supply so that was easy to continue. Watching TV was also part of my routine as well as putting in some minutes of blogging. Finding time to blog was hard enough already so adding a few sentences at every feeding was the way to go.


My other LC started me on some herbs that would help me increase my supply. I started them about two weeks ago. One is the Fenugreek capsule of 620mg which I was suppose to take three capsule three times a day. However, I'm not that great with pill taking and the most I took was 6 capsule 2x a day but it would mostly be just the 3 daily whenever I remembered. The other herb is Mothers Milk Tea just one cup a day, this taste amazing! I take it with honey and I think I'm going to continue it until I stop breastfeeding. In addition she wanted me to eat almonds, oats, lots of small meals throughout the day, and drink plenty of fluids. Eating small meals is definitely the hardest part because I forget. Seriously, I get so caught up in cleaning, cooking, school work, and napping that before I know it half the day has gone by and I only had breakfast. This LC also recommended I take warm baths, do compressions on my breast before feeding or pumping, and add a warm compress to them to stimulate a faster milk flow.

The only side effects I've notice from this is a distinct smell, similar to that of the Fenugreek coming from my underarm (yuck!), a stronger odor from AJ's bm, more gassy from both of us, and AJ being more fussy and uncomfortable and it seems like he's getting worse with each passing day. My poor baby. I think all of this have to do with the Fenugreek so I don't want to continue for the full year like I hear many women do. I don't want my body to depend on this in order to produce breast milk so now that I feel my supply is where it needs to be I plan on weening from it by taking it every other day then every 3rd day and so on until I no longer take it. I do plan on continuing the tea, I like the flavor and pumping 3-4x a day.

There are a few factors that could have affected my supply. Stress about returning to work, not eating or drinking enough, having a few drink over the weekend before I notice the drop in supply, and my birth control pills. Since I had started going to the gym earlier that week I even thought that exercising played a role but now I don't think so that much. These are the things that I can pinpoint to but can't officially say caused it. It could have been just one or a combination of things and we will never know what really did it. Either way the birth control pill is out the door and I'm going back to the rhythm method since it worked for me so well before.

After speaking with both LC I followed the first one's recommendation and tried to pump at least three times per day and fed faithfully at three hours or less no matter where I was. Within a few days I saw some change. I went from pumping .5-1 ounce from each breast to pumping two ounces and then three ounces from each. We were back on track. Before all of this happened I was able to pump up to 7 ounces combined when I didn't feed AJ and 4-5 ounces after feeding him. I've been pumping first thing in the morning, at some point in the afternoon/evening, and before bedtime. Now, at 2 week after taking the herbal capsule and tea, I've also seen an increase. A big one at that. I've been pumping 7-8 ounces. Yes!!! And in just the first week I was able to freeze a total of 60 ounces broken down to 5 ounce per storage bag. My goal was to have 80oz before returning to work and by the looks of it with a week to go I'll probably have double of that saved. You have no idea how much happiness that brings to my life. I've been taking breastfeeding very seriously :)

This was about an hour after I fed AJ, 5.5oz

I was also told by a LC at my job when I went to visit and pick up my schedule that a good way to increase my supply was to feed from one breast while pumping the other at the same time then switching baby and pump. She said I was doing good by pumping first thing in the morning and before bed that that for sure will increase my supply. I felt so much better after hearing from all three of them. There are so many ways to maintain and increase milk supply that I'm confident I'll be able to make it to the first year. Now, I don't want to get ahead of my self so my short term goal is to do at least six months. After the six months then we can continue to nine and eventually twelve months.

The most important piece of advice to remember is that breastfeeding is a "on demand" job. The more you feed the more you'll produce. And as long as you are feeding on demand or pumping at least 7-8 times a day and maintaining a balanced diet you shouldn't see any decrease or "dry out" like some say. Staying positive and keeping your goals clear is also something to keep in mind because if you are constantly saying you can't do it or you have a negative mind believe me you will dry you out for sure. At the end of the day your brain is making all the connections and getting distracted can affect you in the end. So, stay focus and positive.


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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Chocolatey Treat




What a day what a day.

I've had a rough day today. From not having a baby sitter and missing my class, to being disturbed over a very disgusting Facebook post. I've just about had it and that called for a nice chocolate cake. I'm not a fan of chocolate like that. I eat it rarely and is almost never as a cake. Maybe a brownie but mostly a chocolate and peanut bar. Although I'm not a fan of peanuts either. Yes I'm weird like that.

A few weeks ago I saw this recipe posted on another blog and it looked and sounded tasty so I decided to give it a try and today was the day. I've noticed that when I'm upset I like to bake and what better than chocolate to cheer me up. Well don't you know this cake did the trick. I had it with some milk and boy did it taste good. I even went for seconds ;) is not the healthiest, but so worth it and acceptable when you have a day like mine.

Here's the recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake

Ingredients:
-chocolate cake mix
-chocolate instant pudding mix
-1 bag of chocolate chips (I used half)
-4 eggs
-1cup sour cream
-3/4 cup oil
-3/4 cup water

Directions: (just as it appears on the blog I found it)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mix all ingredients well and pour batter into a well-greased bundt pan.

3. Bake on 2nd to bottom rack for 40-50 minutes.

4. Remove from oven; let cake cool completely in pan.

5. Take a small slender spatula and loosen cake around the outside & inside edges. Tip upside down onto platter.

6. Cake can be refrigerated & removed prior to serving or tastes just as good chilled.

*I sprinkled some powered sugar as well.


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Monday, March 18, 2013

Twnty-six


Another year, another birthday. I cannot believe I'm 26 already. Where is time going? My 6 years old is almost as tall as I am and my baby sister is a teenager. When did that happen?

Aside from the shock of my age these days I had a very nice birthday weekend. I wanted to keep it low key and didn't really plan anything special beside having dinner at Marrakesh, an authentic Moroccan restaurant in Philadelphia, with a friend and her husband but other things came about and I couldn't resist.

My weekend started with a dinner outing with my mother, sisters, husband, and sons to Chili's. It was nice spending that time with them and reminiscing on my life as a teenager. After dinner we drove to the mall to look for a birthday outfit because we decided to go dancing at the last minute. One thing you should now about me is that I love my Spanish music and dancing to it. If I'm ever mad or sad just turn the radio on and I'll be alright ;)



After leaving the Mall we went home and got ready to go out. We met with my cousin and a few of my husband's friends. They bought a few bottles and got a hookah and that along with some dancing made for a great start to my birthday. I might of had a little too much to drink because my head was pounding the next day. But I had such a good time that it was worth it. Saturday came and I spent the day at my mothers. Just relaxing and trying to recuperate from the night before because we had some driving to do to go celebrate with other friends of mine. As I was leaving my mother's house my comadre showed and and surprised me with my favorite cake ever! Tres Leches. Mmmm was that cake good. She also brought me a bottle of liquor which I plan to save for quite some time. Minutes later we headed home to finish getting ready and start our drive to Philadelphia. We were running super late and had to push our reservation. Luckily that wasn't an issue and everything turned out better than we had all anticipated. We met at the restaurant and had a 7 course meal accompanied by some wine. This was a very interesting experience since we had to eat from a shared plate with our hands. They had a belly dancer that came out and tried to pull us out to dance with her. The food was delicious too! It was a great time. After dinner we headed to R2L for dessert. This part of the evening was a surprise and so worth it. The view was spectacular and the dessert... Lets just say 2 days later and I can still taste every bit of it. The only thing I wasn't a fan of was my "ice wine" too sweet, too little, too expensive". At least I can say I've tried it jejeje. By the end of the night I was exhausted. We drove home and I couldn't get out of my mind that there was still another day left to celebrate. Oh boy.




Steven had his mother make me a ColdStone inspired cake. It was a layer of strawberry ice cream, vanilla cake, and cookie dough ice cream frosted with whip cream and heavy cream and topped with my favorite candies (gummy bears, twix, Reese's, and some others I can't remember). It was really good. He invited our immediate family over as well as our compadres (AJ godparents). We ate a lot once again and had a great time. I couldn't have asked for a better birthday. And I owe it all to my wonderful husband and fabulous friends and family.




Is funny because the past two weeks I've been feeling somewhat anxious about turning 26. I mean 26 is no big deal but to me is a stage where you're not 30 yet but can't be acting like a 21 year old either. So how do I act? Are there different expectations? To an outsider my life may look almost perfect and on the right track. Married. House owner. Two kids. So-So job. Etc etc but to me it feels off track and behind and it all goes back to not having my career started. This college thing while married and with young kids is no joke. There's so much thrown on my plate I just want to scream at times. But I know it will all be worth it and over very soon. I'm just glad I'm able to document this stage of my life so that years down the road I can look back and see all the frustration I dealt with and all my accomplishments. So that I can show my kids that the grass is not always greener on the other side and most importantly that they can get anything they want if they work hard and don't give up.

Is funny to say but I feel different. Like a new person with new aspirations. More mature. With a better outlook on life. I feel grown!

Thank you Jesus for another year surrounded by fabulous people and good health. I couldn't ask for more.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Breastfeeding: My experience thus far

Breastfeeding is a strong topic among my culture. Including my family, especially my mother. From my first pregnancy I knew there was no "I can't do this" or even "it just didn't work out for me". Knowing that my mother exclusively breastfed all four of us for past the first year of life I had no excuse why I wouldn't be able to do it too.

With my first son I like to think that I was young and uneducated about the topic. Even though I breastfed for six months. That's pretty good if I'd say so myself. And I actually enjoyed it too. I didn't breastfed him exclusively, I supplemented with formula and I didn't see nothing wrong with that. With this child however, I knew what I wanted to do from early on. So I put on my learning cap and got to research. From websites and more websites to breastfeeding education classes I learned all that I could possibly learn. With the exception of engorgement and pumping and saving to return to work. For some reason those two topics kind of flew right over my head. Once at home from the hospital, about 4 days postpartum, I went through the transition from colostrum to mature milk and my breast were sore, hard as a rock, sensitive, you name it and I had no idea what to do. I knew I had to let the milk out but how? I was clueless. It was the middle of the night and Adrián was in no mood to eat or latch on correctly. So I tried pumping but I had never used an electric pump before and crap did it hurt! Of course that that made it worse, in my opinion. Because as I let milk out more milk was produced and Adrián was still not eating. Next I tried taking a hot shower, manually expressed some milk, and got Adrián to nurse a bit. It helped to an extent and I was able to sleep a bit. I also googled some things to try at home and every website kept saying to try placing cabbage on my breast to help the soreness. Again , it was the middle of the night so that wasn't much help at that moment.

The next day I had an appointment at the doctor for AJ and I told them about my night. AJ lost another ounce since the day before so they had me schedule an appointment with the lactation consultant. After meeting with her I learned how to latch him properly and things got better from there on. The day before I had also spoken to a friend's mother who is a LC and she gave me great advice on relieving engorgement (more on that later). On our next weigh in he had surpassed his birth weight and we were good to go until his one month check up.

Things were more than great the next couple of months. I had an over supply and was able to feed him according to his needs and save some for when I had school or was out running errands. He also didn't mind taking the bottle. He nursed for a total of 40-60 minutes at each session and at about every 1.5-2.5 hours.

At around 8 weeks he started nursing every hour. I remember feeling exhausted! I could barely get anything done around the house and I just wanted to sleep. I thought that he was going through a growth spurt since this is one of the times when it usually happens so I ignore it and kept on with life. Then I decided on starting my stash for when I returned to work. I called the Lactation Consultant at the Peds office and she told me to start pumping after every feeding and put it in the fridge and that at the end of the day I could combine all the milk I had collected as long as they were chilled and freeze them. Well, after starting this I felt like my world was ending.

I was worried. Very worried.

I discovered a dropped in my supply. And I didn't understand why. AJ would latch on correctly and we had developed somewhat of a feeding routine that had me with an excessive amount of breast milk. There was so much milk that I didn't know what to do with it all. If only I wasn't so caught up on whatever it was, I would of thought on saving enough milk for a rainy day and even for when I return to work. But no, I repeatedly told myself that it was too early for all of that. And now, now I'm dealing with my worse fear, a decrease in my supply.

I remember getting a little depressed with my son Steven when I had to stop breastfeeding him because I didn't have the time to pump as often as I should had. And this time around is no different. This past Friday I was in tears when I realized that my breastfeeding days were soon to be over.

I contacted my LC again and asked for advice. I got advice from two consultants and put them to work right away. A follow up post will be coming soon on how is all working out.

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Friday, March 8, 2013

Adrian 2 Months




My sweet baby,

Two months later and it feels like you've been a part of our family for years. You sure fit right in. My baby boy, you have grown so much this last month and have taken on your own personality. We haven't weighted you since your one month check up and just like then I again see some extra pounds on you. You just love to eat.




Nursing is still your favorite part of the day and is going very well for both of us. I'm proud to be able to continue providing you with all that you need to grow big and healthy. You have definitely gotten the hang of it and it only takes you 10-15 minutes to get all that you need. Which is great! At night you only nurse for a few minutes, like a snack or to satisfy your thirst. I hope you don't get too used to that and then decide to never sleep through the night.



I have to return to work at the end of the month and although I'm feeling better about it I'm a bit concern that my milk supply will decrease due to my schedule. I'm going to do everything in my power to provide you breast milk as long as I can. Lets hope my body adjusts well to the sleeping/awake pattern that is to come.

Your sleeping has been about the same this month. You are still sleeping 4-5 hours stretches at night and are very active during the day. You are such a happy baby. From the moment you wake up there's a smile on your face. I just love to stare at you and it brings so much joy to my heart that just by looking at me you get so happy. There's definitely a special bond between us. One that I hope never breaks. You have special bonds with daddy and big brother too. Daddy takes care of you when he gets up for work and big brother likes to kiss you and talk to you. He often reads you books too. I think you enjoy the sound of his voice. This month you also had your first sleepover at grandmas house. It was actually two times but the first time I couldn't bear to go home without you nor wake you from your sleep so we all slept at grandmas house :) the second time was much better and you behaved very well.


This month I also took the plunge on cloth diapering and so far so good. It doesn't seem to phase you, as long as you get change when you should you don't care if you're wearing cloth or disposable. And everyone that sees you wearing them gives us the thumbs up. I'm very happy things are working out so well.

You're a little piece of my heaven, in glad to have you as my son. I love you.


Love,
Mommy